“Workers Film and Video” is a new website which aims to bring together into a single site links to footage of key events in working-class history.
Material already accessible through the site, which was set up only earlier this year, includes both historical material, such as the 1905 Russian Revolution and the German Spartakist Uprising in 1919, and also more contemporary material, such as last year’s workers’ protests in Egypt.
Not all of the footage to which is the site links is unedited footage of events. The site also links to debates and documentaries about topics such as the French Revolution, the October Revolution, “Did Trotsky Point the Way to Socialism?”, and even the re-enactment of a (supposed) discussion amongst Parisian Communards in 1871.
A more in-depth political analysis of some of the events covered on the site is provided by links to articles in publications and other websites such such as Critique, Revolutionary History and the AWL’s website.
The website is an open one. It welcomes suggestions for other films and footage to which it could link.
The question thrown up by the website is one of selection.
Does the value of the documentaries linked to by the website, for example, lie in the original footage which they include or in the political analysis which they provide? (Or maybe in both?)
And has the footage selected for linkage been chosen simply because it is available rather than because it really is a “key event in working-class history”?
The site links, for example, to a collection of 58 videos of speeches produced by the Communist Party of Great Britain (producers of the Weekly Worker).
Does Jack Conrad speaking on “The CPGB Draft Programme: What programmes are, how they should be organised, and why they are important” count as a “key event in working-class history”? I think not.
Another example is the site’s linkage to footage of the 2009 picket of the Iranian Embassy in solidarity with Iranian workers. This was a worthwhile initiative, but hardly on a par with the Russian Revolution.
Even so, the site is well worth a visit and new links can be suggested by its viewers: http://workersfilm.blogspot.com/